I don’t know if he is a baseball fan. Nor do I care. But I do hope Barrie Turner gets his turn as a catcher in prison. It will put him on the receiving end of what he did to the more than 1,000 people he ripped off with his bogus and predatory online dating sites.
The 66-year-old man from British Columbia was just sentenced to 51 months in prison in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington. He pled guilty in June 2010. Turner must also pay back more than $300,000 in restitution to the people who thought they were his customers. In sentencing him, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told Turner “You stole the victims’ money. You stole their hope and dignity for the most basic of reasons: money.”
Turner was arrested last March when he tried to enter the United States at Point Roberts, Washington, just south of the Canadian border where he collected his funds from fraud. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service delivered when it found that Turner was accepting payments from customers, but wasn’t providing them with any legitimate matchmaking services.
He was operating more than 200 Executive Dating websites, including Executive Gay Dating, Executive Catholic Dating, and Executive Seattle Dating. The more than 1,000 men and women paid as much as $1,500 for Turner’s dating services and got nothing for their money.
Prosecutors reported that Turner’s dating service websites were nothing more than a scheme that was fake, fraudulent, and cruel. And he did it over and over in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States.
Customers were sent matches but they were always fake. When the customers did find any of their fake matches interesting enough to want to meet, they would then receive identical but disappointing emails informing them that the “match” had decided to date someone else whom they had already met.
One of the female victims wrote in her statement to the court that Turner’s service “raised my hopes and then they dashed them. I felt foolish, embarrassed, and depressed. They preyed on me (and others) when we are the most vulnerable, all for the sake of their own greed.”
U.S. District Court Judge Martinez stated that this case was different than the other more typical types of fraud.
So, for the next four years or so, online dating is safe from Barrie Turner. Meanwhile, he will rightfully be in prison with love (or at least inmate dating opportunities) looking for him in all the wrong places.